Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Family Requests

Today, my brother's wife asked me to change my profile picture on Facebook.  You can't see my profile unless you are my friend so there's no sense my posting a link (you can search for me if you want to be my friend).  However, the image is the logo at the top of the blog.  I chose it because I think it is beautiful.  My friend Harry, himself a 20-year relationship celebrant this September, created it for me. 

It isn't the first time I've been asked to do a “don't ask, don't tell” move by someone.  Heck, I make that choice a dozen times each day — each time I take the easy way and allow the assumption that I am heterosexual to remain unchallenged. Sometimes it is for my safety, sometimes for my comfort.  It doesn't phase me as much as it used to, but I admit that there is some small plink in my heart and/or soul each time. 

Last year, I blogged quite often about the comparison between that hetero-assumption and the gender identity issues at play in Pittsburgh's lesbian community.  None of us are above asking someone to not ask or not tell.  If Jessi Seams had been content to let assumptions about her gender identity go unchallenged, we would have lost a very important debate in our community.  I continue to think Jessi is one of the bravest people I know for acknowleding that there is an in-between gender identity during her City Paper interview.

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So I told my sister-in-law no. I tried to be respectful in making my point.  There's an in-between in coming out — that fine line between bashing it over people's heads and being true to yourself. 

The true blessing is that my little niece who is 2.5 years old does not see anything unusual that Aunt Laura kisses Aunt Sue.  It is all she has ever known and her little brother will be the same way.  I'm not sure about my brother's son.  I hope he will grow up to know and love his lesbian aunties, not his aunt and her friend.  That remains to be seen.

“Don't ask, don't tell” is noxious.  And it hurts a little bit.


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